Exceptional children have expensive needs

Exceptional children have expensive needs
Posed photo
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Alina Adams' 12-year-old son, Gregory, has a gift. He is passionate about computer programming and exceptionally good at it, with talents that belie his young age.

When he was 10, he was accepted into a prestigious programming course at a university, but then told he was too young to attend.

"So he got mad and he built his own website where everyone can learn how to code, whatever age they are," said Adams, 46, who lives in New York City.

As Gregory has gotten older, funding his interest has gotten more expensive. "Some of the things he wants to develop now require hardware," Adams said, "and that costs money."

Then there's the price of travel and events. Two years ago Gregory attended Young Rewired State, a conference in the UK for young "digital makers." He applied for and received a grant that covered travel expenses for both himself and his father to attend. But the cost has prohibited him from returning.

"I explained to him, 'No grant, no trip to Europe," Adams said.

Gregory pointed out that the UK conference had satellite events in various countries - and asked if they could have one in New York. So last summer, Adams organised a local YRS event so he and other local kids could participate.

"My son had the time of his life," Adams said in a blog on the subject. "I…came close to having a nervous breakdown."

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